Investing in books

Try to convince a person buying pirated books to buy an original copy. You will realise it is perhaps the most unwinnable argument in the world. I had an experience of the same when recently a friend told me that buying pirated books always makes sense. When I told him that it’s not a good thing to do, he would say that when you can pay less for the same content, why does it make sense to pay in full.

You cannot actually say that it is good to read the books, because it is — only that in case of pirated books, you can read it for cheap or for free. So, my friend says, you can actually get the same thing free of cost. It makes no sense at all to buy the books, he says. How do you win that argument?

Of course, those like me who believe in actually buying the books can clearly understand why it makes sense to buy the books. Apart from the wonderful feeling of owning the book without having to steal it, buying the book also gives you a lot of practical advantages. For example, in case of a hard copy, an original book will almost always be in a much better condition than the pirated version. Do you know how happy I am to read a well maintained book? Ah, you wouldn’t know. Readers would.

Further, even if you’re buying an electronic book, the fact that you’re buying it will mean you have hundreds of added advantages such as Word Wise feature in Kindle, or updating your reading status on Goodreads and joining the community discussions. You could also have an access to that book on all of your devices.

But wait, you’re not interested in this are you? No, money saved trumps all of this you say, yes?

That’s the point. Like I said, it’s an unwinnable argument, primarily because the intentions are different. What I seek from a book is far different than what you seek.

If your intention is to save money, you’re better off not buying at all. Because, while buying the book, that’s the last thing you should be thinking about.

Buying a book is more about how it affects you as a person. If you’re not willing to pay money for it, to give that level of respect to the book, you won’t achieve what should be your ideal objective in buying the book.

Think of books as investments. If you don’t pay the full price, you’re not likely to reap the full benefits. But that’s only applicable if you actually think of books as an investment, and not as an expenditure.

Studies have shown that we are more likely to take things seriously if we have paid the full price for it. That’s one reason why a person thinks that he is enjoying more in an expensive coffee shop rather than having coffee at home.

Or maybe that was a bad example.

My point is: if you end up buying pirated versions, you’re more likely to enjoy the feeling of having saved money rather than enjoying the book itself. It’s like a half hearted compromise, and that’s a bad thing in and of itself.

That’s not to say that everyone can afford a book (although, books are in general a much better deal than spending those bucks on a movie). But still, if you genuinely have money constraints, you can do well to rent a book, or even to borrow one.

Everything is better than reading a pirated version. Buying a pirated version is a perversion we must avoid.

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